Functional characterization of human SLC41A1, a Mg2+ transporter with similarity to prokaryotic MgtE Mg2+ transporters

Physiol Genomics. 2005 May 11;21(3):337-42. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00261.2004. Epub 2005 Feb 15.


We have begun to identify and characterize genes that are differentially expressed with low magnesium. One of these sequences conformed to the solute carrier SLC41A1. Real-time RT-PCR of RNA isolated from renal distal tubule epithelial [mouse distal convoluted tubule (MDCT)] cells cultured in low-magnesium media relative to normal media and in the kidney cortex of mice maintained on low-magnesium diets compared with those animals consuming normal diets confirmed that the SLC41A1 transcript is responsive to magnesium. Mouse SLC41A1 was cloned from MDCT cells, expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, and studied with two-electrode voltage-clamp studies. When expressed in oocytes, SLC41A1 mediates saturable Mg2+ uptake with a Michaelis constant of 0.67 mM. Transport of Mg2+ by SLC41A1 is rheogenic, voltage dependent, and not coupled to Na+ or Cl-. Expressed SLC41A1 transports a range of other divalent cations: Mg2+, Sr2+, Zn2+, Cu2+, Fe2+, Co2+, Ba2+, and Cd2+. The divalent cations Ca2+, Mn2+, and Ni2+ and the trivalent ion Gd3+ did not induce currents nor did they inhibit Mg2+ transport. The nonselective cation La3+ abolished Mg2+ uptake. The SLC41A1 transcript is present in many tissues, notably renal epithelial cells, and is upregulated in some tissues with magnesium deficiency. These studies suggest that SLC41A1 is a regulated Mg2+ transporter that might be involved in magnesium homeostasis in epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiporters / genetics*
  • Antiporters / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Cations, Divalent / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Plasmids
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Xenopus / physiology


  • Antiporters
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Cations, Divalent
  • DNA Primers
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • MgtE protein, bacteria
  • SLC41A1 protein, human
  • Magnesium